With Flying Colors

This senior defender hopes for one more victory "Between The Hedges" before his career is finished.

Auburn, Ala.--Passing tests are a big part of everyone's life, whether it be in school, your job or in life itself. For senior linebacker Tavarreus Pounds, his whole football career as an Auburn Tiger has seemed like one test after another without much down time.

With injuries as both a sophomore and junior that caused him to miss substantial playing time, the Villa Rica, Ga., native had high hopes coming into his senior year that things would be different, but it wasn't to be. Playing against Mississippi State, Pounds suffered a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss much of the next three games, including the Tigers' win over top-ranked Florida. Now back and ready to play, he says that he's beginning to feel like his old self once again.

"I've got my legs back a little bit," he notes. "I've still got some soreness in my ankle but it really doesn't bother me that bad. I'm moving around a whole lot better than what I was last week."

Tavarreus Pounds, shown in spring practice, wears the yellow "no contact allowed" jersey while he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

Something that probably helped him recover even quicker was rest, a luxury college football players don't get to enjoy too often. Following the off-week the team had after falling at Arkansas, Pounds says that the defense used the time to go back to the basics, something that had been missing of late.

"It gave us a chance to get back to the fundamentals," he says, "just tackling and swarming to the ball, which are the things we haven't been doing in the last two games against Louisiana Tech and Arkansas. We didn't tackle well in those games and we weren't very good in pass coverage, either. We couldn't stop the option against Arkansas, either. Last week and this week we're going to get back to tackling real well and defending the option."

While the Georgia passing game with freshmen David Greene and Fred Gibson garnered the most attention for its play this season, Pounds says that Musa Smith, Jasper Sanks and the Bulldog running game are what's most important this week.

"Always," he responds immediately when asked if they planned to try to stop the run first. "That's the number one thing, stopping the run. Off the top, if we stop the run we have the advantage from that moment on and I really don't think someone can beat us just with the passing game. They pass off the run so if we stop the run, we've got a pretty good shot of shutting them down."

With his senior season winding to a close, Pounds gets a chance to return to his home state one last time and leave a winner. Holding a one-game lead over Ole Miss for the Western Division title with three games remaining, he says that this game is the biggest of the season for him and the other seniors.

"This is big-time," he notes. "If we win this one we'll control our destiny once again. We got a little help from Arkansas so we're just hoping to go in there and have a big game in some of our last time to play between the hedges. This is my last time going over there. I can't get caught up in all they hype, I just want to win. I want to win so that we can get back to Atlanta. That's the major goal we are going after right now. We're just trying to stay on track so that we can go to Atlanta. I'll worry about all the hype after the game, the bragging rights and all that. They're really not important right now. The important thing is going over there, playing well and winning."


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